Hello, I’m Barbara Beskind

IDEO Fellow

I have fun. I surround myself with enthusiastic and brilliant people six decades younger than I am to help design concepts that address aging.

What you won’t learn from my bio:
In my 60s, I competed internationally in 2500-meter stationary rowing machine competitions, once placing second in the world. My best time is 12:51.

Joined IDEO:
2013

Full Bio

Barbara Knickerbocker Beskind is an IDEO Fellow and internationally recognized pioneer in the field of occupational therapy. Barbara graduated from the Home Economics School of Syracuse University with a BS in Applied Arts and Design in 1945. She trained as an occupational therapist through the U.S. Army’s War Emergency Course during World War II and served for 20 years, retiring as a major in 1966. She went on to found the Princeton Center for Learning Disorders, one of the first independent private occupational therapy practices in in the U.S. She is the author of a clinical textbook on occupational therapy and holds a patent for inflatable equipment that helps children improve their balance. The American Occupational Therapy Association honored Barbara as a Charter Fellow in recognition of her innovative therapeutic techniques.

In January 2013, Barbara saw IDEO founder David Kelley speak on 60 Minutes about the importance of cultivating a diversity of experience among team members developing new products and services. Barbara wrote to the company, offering to help IDEO design for an aging population. She soon began working in IDEO’s Bay Area offices and has been directly involved with client projects related to contact lenses, health care delivery, and retirement home services.